Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

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Mr. Wickham

Extended Character Analysis

Mr. Wickham, a militia officer, is at first portrayed as charming and handsome. As the novel progresses, however, Mr. Wickham’s character is revealed to be manipulative and irresponsible; his goals are money and positive attention, and Wickham employs dastardly methods to try and attain them. As an antagonistic character, Mr. Wickham serves as the catalyst for Elizabeth Bennet’s increased prejudice against Mr. Darcy. Elizabeth’s willingness to believe Wickham’s lies about Mr. Darcy’s maltreatment of him molds her perceptions during Mr. Darcy’s first proposal, influencing her decision to reject him.

Mr. Wickham was brought up with the Darcy family, as his father had been the Pemberley estate caretaker and a close acquaintance of Mr. Darcy’s father. As the godson of Mr. Darcy’s father, Mr. Wickham was treated kindly. Mr. Darcy’s father supported Wickham through school, allowing him to go to Cambridge in the hopes that he would become a clergyman. Mr. Wickham was included in Mr. Darcy’s father’s will, ensuring him a decent sum of money so that he might live a good life.

However, after both Mr. Wickham’s father and Mr. Darcy’s father passed away, Mr. Wickham approached Mr. Darcy and asked for a fairly large sum of money, expressing his wish to study law instead of entering the church. Mr. Darcy obliged him, but soon found that Mr. Wickham, instead of putting the money towards law school, fell into a “life of idleness and dissipation.” Mr. Wickham spent all of the money Mr. Darcy gave him and entreated Mr. Darcy again for more; this time, Mr. Darcy...

(The entire section is 546 words.)